Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on Education Charlie McConalogue says it’s unacceptable that 40% of teachers working in Irish schools have not been taken through the process established to ensure child protection. Figures released this morning reveal that more than 36,000 teachers have not been through the Garda clearance process.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “I am extremely concerned by the reports this morning that 40% of teachers in our schools have not undergone the Garda vetting process. These procedures were put in place to protect children and vulnerable young people, however the fact that so many teachers have yet to be vetted calls into question the Government’s commitment to actually implementing their policy.
“Delays in the implementation of the National Vetting Bureau (Children & Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 have created a loophole in the system, which is effectively allowing teachers to work in schools without being fully cleared by the authorities. While there are certain child protection policies currently in place only full mandatory vetting can ensure best possible practice.
“This issue needs to be addressed urgently. Child protection policies must not be allowed to be reduced to token measures. They must be enforced in full and without exception, and Garda vetting must be a part of that.
“Minister Jan O’Sullivan cannot continue to ignore this problem. Resources must be allocated to the Garda Vetting Unit to reduce the backlog and ensure that all teachers are cleared. This is a short term measure which will have a significant impact on the system. It is completely unacceptable more than 36,000 teachers have gone unchecked to date, and it is a failure of this Government which must be remedied without delay”.